The Beekeeper’s Daughter, by Jane Jordan. Black Opal Books. 388 pages. Trade paperback $16.99.
Born in England, this Sarasota author returns imaginatively to the Exmoor area she knows very well. Set in the late 1860s, his is a novel of grand passions that lead to ruthless actions and of hidden secrets slowly revealed. As she learns the truth about herself, Annabel Taylor – the title character – hopes that she can find the strength to use her untested, mysterious talent for to save herself and those she loves from disaster.
This includes the further development of her ability to influence the behavior of bees, for better and for worse.
Annabel, who lost her mother at a young age, grew up as best friends with the son of the local blacksmith, her father’s good friend. As they grew older, their feelings blossomed into a strong, often overwhelming, passion. Jevan Wenham often could not keep his feelings in check; they would burst into violence.
Though meant for each other, these two could lose control in unfortunate ways. When Jevan reluctantly decides to spend time with his mother in London in order to get an education and improve his chances for a prosperous future, Annabel is outraged. Her feelings of betrayal overwhelm her common sense. Her waves of attraction and repulsion are ferocious.
Vulnerable, Annabel is manipulated by a wealthy young suitor, Alex Saltonstall, who pursues her and eventually traps her into accepting his marriage proposal. Now Jevan, who has been imprisoned by the Saltonstalls as part of that trap, feels betrayed. It doesn’t matter to him that Annabel’s consent to marry Alex saves his life.
Gothelstone Manor, the Saltonstall estate, becomes Annabel’s prison. It is also the place in which the paranormal or supernatural dimensions of the novel exhibit themselves. Haunting voices and images suggest a relationship between the restless, agonized spirits of the dead and the destinies of the living. The history of women married into the Saltonstall family reveals a pattern of early deaths and bouts of madness. It is a pattern encroaching on the present – and perhaps the future.
Witchcraft is part of the lineage and legacy of the key families, sometimes exercising beneficial power, sometimes bringing only evil. . . .
To read the entire review, as it appear in the March 1, 2017 Fort Myers Florida Weekly and the March 2 Naples, Bonita Springs, Punta Gorda / Port Charlotte, and Palm Beach editions, click here: Florida Weekly – The Beekeeper’s Daughter